1006-20 NY Times Crossword 6 Oct 20, Tuesday

Constructed by: Alan Massengill & Andrea Carla Michaels
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): F-First Letter

Themed answers are common phrases preceded by a letter F:

  • 19A Scary landlord? : FRIGHTFUL OWNER
  • 24A Anti-fuel extraction slogan? : FRACK AND RUIN
  • 48A One who freely admits not being any good? : FRANK AMATEUR
  • 55A What Fancy Feast and Meow Mix compete in? : FRISKY BUSINESS

Bill’s time: 5m 29s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 One way to stand in poker : PAT

To stand pat is to resist change. The term comes from the game of poker, in which one stands pat if one keeps one’s hand as is, not drawing any extra cards.

13 When Hamlet sees his father’s ghost : ACT I

In William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”, the title character is the Prince of Denmark. The prince’s father is also a character in the play, who makes three appearances as a ghost. The ghost has the same name as the prince, but is referred to as King Hamlet in order to distinguish him from the son.

15 Poet who wrote “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” : ELIOT

“The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” is a poem by T. S. Eliot that was first published in 1915. The rather odd name of “Prufrock” seems to have just come to Eliot, although there was a Prufrock-Littau Company in St. Louis while he lived there.

16 Revolutionary Trotsky : LEON

Leon Trotsky was a Soviet politician and revolutionary, the founder and first leader of the Red Army as well as one of the first members of the Politburo. Trotsky was ousted and deported in 1929 when he opposed the policies of Joseph Stalin. Trotsky continued to be vocal in opposition to Stalin in Mexico, his place of exile. Stalin had him assassinated there in 1940.

18 Girl Scout cookie with toasted coconut : SAMOA

Depending on which bakery makes the particular variety of Girl Scout cookies, the name can vary. For example, Little Brownie Bakers makes Samoa cookies, while ABC Bakers uses the same recipe and calls the cookies Caramel deLites. The assumption is that these cookies have the exotic name “Samoa” because they contain the tropical ingredients of coconut and cocoa. The most popular variety of Girl Scout cookies sold are Thin Mints.

23 Marseille Mrs. : MME

Marseille (often written “Marseilles” in English) is the second largest city in France, after Paris. Marseille is also the largest commercial port in the country. I used to live nearby, and can attest that Marseille and environs is a great place to visit …

24 Anti-fuel extraction slogan? : FRACK AND RUIN

“Fracking” is a familiar term for “hydraulic fracturing”. Fracking involves the injection of chemicals and sand in water at high pressure into a wellbore. This creates cracks in layers of rock deep in the earth allowing perhaps oil or natural gas to flow more freely to the surface.

31 Massachusetts’ Cape ___ : COD

Cape Cod is indeed named after the fish. It was first called Cape Cod by English navigator Bartholomew Gosnold in 1602 as his men caught so many fish there.

34 Classify, as blood : TYPE

Here is an approximate distribution of blood types across the US population:

  • O-positive: 38 percent
  • O-negative: 7 percent
  • A-positive: 34 percent
  • A-negative: 6 percent
  • B-positive: 9 percent
  • B-negative: 2 percent
  • AB-positive: 3 percent
  • AB-negative: 1 percent

35 Element extracted from kelp : IODINE

The chemical element iodine is a halogen (as are fluorine, chlorine and bromine) and has the symbol “I”. At room temperature, iodine is a purple-black solid. With heat, it melts into violet liquid, and at high temperatures a violet gas. The name “iodine” comes from the Greek “ioeides” meaning “violet-colored”.

Kelps are large seaweeds that grow in kelp forests underwater. Kelps can grow to over 250 feet in length, and do so very quickly. Some kelps can grow at the rate of 1-2 feet per day.

36 Gung-ho : AVID

“Kung ho” is a Chinese expression meaning “work together, cooperate”. The anglicized version “gung-ho” was adopted by Major Evans Carlson as an expression of combined spirit for his 2nd Marine Raider Battalion during WWII. From there the term spread throughout the Marine Corps and back to America where it persists to this day.

38 Pac-12 sch. : USC

The University of Southern California (USC) is a private school in Los Angeles. Apart from its excellent academic record, USC is known for the success of its athletic program. USC Trojans have won more Olympic medals than the students of any other university in the world. The USC marching band is very famous as well, and is known as the “Spirit of Troy”. The band has performed with many celebrities, and is the only college band to have two platinum records.

“Pac-12” is an abbreviation for the Pacific-12 Conference, a college athletic conference in the western US. The Pac-12 has won more NCAA National Team Championships than any other conference. The Pac-12 was founded in 1915 as the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC). Over time as it grew, the conference went by the names Big Five, Big Six, Pacific-8, Pacific-10 and became the Pacific-12 in 2011.

40 Send a naughty message : SEXT

Sexting (a portmanteau of “sex” and “texting”) is the sending of explicit dialog and images between cell phones. The term “sexting” was coined by the UK’s “Sunday Telegraph Magazine” in a 2005 article.

41 Imposed, as a tax : LEVIED

A levy is a tax. The term “levy” comes from Old French in which “levée” means “raising”. So a levy is a tax that has been “raised” (in the sense of “collected”, not “increased”).

61 Steinway or Baldwin : PIANO

Steinway & Sons is a supplier of handmade pianos based in New York City and in Hamburg, Germany. The company was founded in Manhattan in 1853 by German immigrant Henry E. Steinway. One element of Steinway’s business model is to offer a “piano bank” service. Performing artists can “borrow” a particular piano from the bank for a particular concert or tour. About 400 pianos are in the bank, and are located all over the world. The value of the bank’s collection of pianos is estimated at over $25 million.

The Baldwin Piano Company was founded in 1857 by Dwight Hamilton Baldwin from Cincinnati, Ohio. The Baldwin company became the largest manufacturer of keyboard instruments in the US. Sadly, Baldwin pianos haven’t been manufactured in this country since 2008, and the Baldwin brand is now owned by Gibson Guitars.

62 President who finished third in his race for re-election : TAFT

William Howard Taft may have been the 27th President of the United States, but his lifelong ambition was to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. President Taft was able to realize that dream in 1921, eight years after losing his bid for re-election as president. As Chief Justice, this former US President swore in two new presidents: Calvin Coolidge (in 1925) and Herbert Hoover (in 1929). William Howard Taft is also remembered as the most obese president. In the last year of his presidency, he weighed about 340 pounds (he was 5 feet 11 inches tall). Twelve months after leaving the White House, President Taft had dropped 80 pounds and substantially lowered his blood pressure.

63 Jason’s ship, in myth : ARGO

In Greek mythology, Jason and the Argonauts sailed on the Argo in search of the Golden Fleece. The vessel was called “Argo” in honor of the ship’s builder, a man named Argus.

64 Green-skinned variety of pear : ANJOU

The Anjou pear is a cultivar of the European Pear. The Anjou is thought to have originated in Belgium or France (Anjou is a province in the Loire Valley of western France).

65 Novelist ___ Oz : AMOS

Amos Oz is an Israeli writer. Oz has written 18 books in Hebrew and his works have been translated into 30 languages, including Arabic.

66 Insect drawn to flames : MOTH

It isn’t really understood why moths are attracted to artificial lights. There is one theory that sounds plausible to me though. It is suggested that moths navigate at night by maintaining the moon (the brightest celestial object) at a fixed angle. When a moth finds a brighter light source, like an artificial light, it gets confused.

68 Shell’s game? : GAS

Royal Dutch Shell is the fourth largest company in the world in terms of revenue (Walmart is the largest) and is headquartered in the Hague, in the Netherlands. The company was formed in 1907 with the merger of the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and Shell Transport and Trading company of the UK. The two companies merged in order to compete globally with the biggest US oil company of the day, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. Shell Oil Company is a US-based subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell that is headquartered in Houston, Texas.

69 Competitor of Petro-Canada : ESSO

The Esso brand has its roots in the old Standard Oil company as it uses the initial letters of “Standard” and “Oil” (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but ESSO is still used in many other countries.

Petro-Canada started out as a government-owned corporation in 1976. Petro-Canada is now a brand name of Suncor Energy.

Down

3 Showing no emotion : STOIC

Zeno of Citium was a Greek philosopher famous for teaching at the Stoa Poikile, the “Painted Porch”, located on the north side of the Ancient Agora of Athens. Because of the location of his classes, his philosophy became known as stoicism (from “stoa”, the word for “porch”). We get our adjective “stoic”, meaning “indifferent to pleasure or pain”, from the same root.

5 Grad student’s mentor : PROF

A mentor is a trusted teacher or counselor. The term comes from Homer’s “Odyssey” in which there is a character called Mentor. Mentor is a friend of Odysseus, although he is a relatively ineffective old man. However, the goddess Athena takes on Mentor’s appearance in order to guide Odysseus’s young son Telemachus through difficult times.

6 Org. defending free speech : ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has its roots in the First World War. It grew out of the National Civil Liberties Bureau (CLB) that was founded to provide legal advice and support to conscientious objectors. The ACLU’s motto is “Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself”. The ACLU also hosts a blog on the ACLU.org website called “Speak Freely”.

7 Louise’s title friend, in film : THELMA

“Thelma & Louise” is a thought-provoking movie, and one that is very entertaining. It was directed by Ridley Scott in 1991, and stars two fabulous leads in Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon. You’ll also spot Brad Pitt onscreen in his first significant movie role.

9 Late actor Rickman : ALAN

Alan Rickman was a marvelous English actor, one famous for playing bad guy Hans Gruber in the original “Die Hard” film, Severus Snape in the “Harry Potter” series and (my personal favorite) Eamon de Valera in “Michael Collins”. Sadly, Rickman passed away in January 2016, after which fans created a memorial under the “Platform 9¾” sign in London’s Kings Cross Railway Station, from where the Hogwarts Express is said to depart in the “Harry Potter” universe.

10 Five-and-___ : DIME

A five-and-ten is a store that sells inexpensive items. “Five-and-ten” is an alternative name for “dime store”, “five-and-dime” and “ten-cent store”. The “five-and-ten” name is short for “five-and-ten cent store”.

21 Lead-in to -bus : OMNI-

We use the term “bus” for a mode of transportation, as it is an abbreviated form of the original “omnibus”. We imported “omnibus” via French from Latin, in which language it means “for all”. The idea is that an omnibus is a “carriage for all”.

25 Heart of a computer, for short : CPU

The central processing unit (CPU) is the main component on the motherboard of a computer. The CPU is the part of the computer that carries out most of the functions required by a program. Nowadays you can get CPUs in everything from cars to telephones.

26 Pop singer who used to use a dollar sign for the third letter of her name : KESHA

“Kesha” (formerly “Ke$ha”) is the stage name used by singer Kesha Rose Sebert.

29 “Need You Tonight” band : INXS

INXS (pronounced “in excess”) was a rock band from Australia. The band formed in 1977 in Sydney as the Farriss Brothers, as three of the original lineups were indeed brothers.

31 Baby hippo : CALF

The name “hippopotamus” comes from the Greek for “river horse”. Hippos are the third-largest land mammals, after elephants and rhinos. The closest living relatives to hippos don’t even live on land. They are the whales and porpoises of the oceans.

32 “Your turn,” in radio lingo : OVER

Lingo is specialized vocabulary. Journalese and legalese would be good examples.

33 La Scala star : DIVA

La Scala Opera House opened in 1778. It was built on the site of the church of Santa Maria della Scala, which gave the theater its Italian name “Teatro alla Scala”.

39 “What greater gift than the love of a ___?”: Charles Dickens : CAT

Charles Dickens was an English novelist who achieved great success in his own time, and is still regarded as perhaps the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. Many of his novels explored the plight of the poor in Victorian society, perhaps driven by his own experiences as a child. Dickens had to leave school to work in a factory after his father was thrown into a debtor’s prison. As a result, Dickens had to educate himself. He is said to have pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction, with his first success coming with the 1835 serial publication of “Pickwick Papers”. And, everyone’s favorite has to be his 1843 novella, “A Christmas Carol”.

46 Autobahn auto : AUDI

The Audi name has an interesting history. The Horch company was founded by August Horch in 1909. Early in the life of the new company, Horch was forced out of his own business. He set up a new enterprise and continued to use his own name as a brand. The old company sued him for using the Horch name so a meeting was held to choose something new. Horch’s young son was studying Latin in the room where the meeting was taking place. He pointed out that “horch” was German for “hear” and he suggested “Audi” as a replacement, the Latin for “listen”.

The federal highway system in Germany is known as the Autobahn (plural “Autobahnen” in German). Famously, there are no federally mandated speed limits on the autobahn, although many, many stretches of the highway do indeed have posted and enforced limits. Where there is no speed limit posted, there is an advisory speed limit of 130 km/hr (81 mph). It is not illegal to travel over this speed limit, but legal liability may increase at higher speeds if that speed contributes to an accident.

49 Brand with a lonely repairman : MAYTAG

The Maytag Washing Machine Company was founded in 1893 by Frederick Maytag, in Newton, Iowa. Over time, the company developed a reputation for reliability, and did a great job marketing the concept. One move they made was to change the address of the corporate headquarters in Newton to “One Dependability Square”. The Maytag repairman in the famous advertising campaign was known as “Ol’ Lonely”, the guy who was never called out because Maytag washers and dryers never broke down. Whirlpool bought Maytag in 2006 and basically shut down all Maytag operations, and now just put the Maytag label on Whirlpool appliances.

53 Former Houston hockey team : AEROS

The Aeros were the professional ice hockey team based in Houston, Texas until 2013. The Houston Aeros were added to the International Hockey League in 1994. The franchise name was taken from the World Hockey Association’s Houston Aeros of the seventies, the team for whom Gordie Howe played. When the team moved to Des Moines in 2013, they became the Iowa Wild.

54 Air Force NCOs : SSGTS

A staff sergeant (SSgt.) is a non-commissioned officer (NCO).

55 Punishment for jaywalking : FINE

“Jaywalking” is mainly an American term. The original version of the word was “jay-driving”, which applied to people driving horse-drawn carriages on the wrong side of the road.

56 Indian prince : RAJA

“Raja” (also “rajah”) is a word derived from Sanskrit that is used particularly in India for a monarch or princely ruler. The female form is “rani” (also “ranee”) and is used for a raja’s wife.

58 Crimson Tide, to fans : BAMA

The athletic teams of the University of Alabama (“Bama”) are nicknamed the Crimson Tide, which is a reference to the team colors of crimson and white.

59 Subjects of some eerie videos : UFOS

Unidentified flying object (UFO)

60 Manhattan neighborhood below Greenwich Village : SOHO

The Manhattan neighborhood known today as SoHo was very fashionable in the early 1900s, but as the well-heeled started to move uptown the area became very run down and poorly maintained. Noted for the number of fires that erupted in derelict buildings, SoHo earned the nickname “Hell’s Hundred Acres”. The area was then zoned for manufacturing and became home to many sweatshops. In the mid-1900s artists started to move into open loft spaces and renovating old buildings as the lofts were ideal locations in which an artist could both live and work. In 1968, artists and others organized themselves so that they could legalize their residential use of an area zoned for manufacturing. The group they formed took its name from the name given to the area by the city’s Planning Commission i.e “South of Houston”. This was shortened from So-uth of Ho-uston to SoHo as in “SoHo Artists Association”, and the name stuck.

61 Jenna Fischer’s role on “The Office” : PAM

In the excellent sitcom “The Office”, the character Pam Halpert (née Beesly) is played very ably by Jenna Fischer. If you’ve seen the original version of “The Office” from the UK, then you’d have met Pam’s equivalent character, whose name is Dawn Tinsley.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Radiator sound : HISS
5 One way to stand in poker : PAT
8 When tripled, et cetera : YADDA
13 When Hamlet sees his father’s ghost : ACT I
14 Part of the foot : ARCH
15 Poet who wrote “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” : ELIOT
16 Revolutionary Trotsky : LEON
17 Part of the foot : SOLE
18 Girl Scout cookie with toasted coconut : SAMOA
19 Scary landlord? : FRIGHTFUL OWNER
22 Clean with elbow grease : SCOUR
23 Marseille Mrs. : MME
24 Anti-fuel extraction slogan? : FRACK AND RUIN
31 Massachusetts’ Cape ___ : COD
34 Classify, as blood : TYPE
35 Element extracted from kelp : IODINE
36 Gung-ho : AVID
38 Pac-12 sch. : USC
40 Send a naughty message : SEXT
41 Imposed, as a tax : LEVIED
44 “Oh, you told a funny” : HA HA
47 Sound of a 1-Across : SSS
48 One who freely admits not being any good? : FRANK AMATEUR
51 Time in history : ERA
52 What light bulbs represent in comics : IDEAS
55 What Fancy Feast and Meow Mix compete in? : FRISKY BUSINESS
61 Steinway or Baldwin : PIANO
62 President who finished third in his race for re-election : TAFT
63 Jason’s ship, in myth : ARGO
64 Green-skinned variety of pear : ANJOU
65 Novelist ___ Oz : AMOS
66 Insect drawn to flames : MOTH
67 Destined (to be) : MEANT
68 Shell’s game? : GAS
69 Competitor of Petro-Canada : ESSO

Down

1 One of a pair : HALF
2 Ones writing “Happy Birthday,” maybe : ICERS
3 Showing no emotion : STOIC
4 Honor musically : SING OF
5 Grad student’s mentor : PROF
6 Org. defending free speech : ACLU
7 Louise’s title friend, in film : THELMA
8 Possible response to “You take credit cards?” : YES, WE DO
9 Late actor Rickman : ALAN
10 Five-and-___ : DIME
11 It may swing or revolve : DOOR
12 One day ___ time : AT A
14 One way to be led : ASTRAY
20 Pain : HURT
21 Lead-in to -bus : OMNI-
25 Heart of a computer, for short : CPU
26 Pop singer who used to use a dollar sign for the third letter of her name : KESHA
27 Hwys. : RDS
28 180s : UIES
29 “Need You Tonight” band : INXS
30 Safety features for tightrope walkers : NETS
31 Baby hippo : CALF
32 “Your turn,” in radio lingo : OVER
33 La Scala star : DIVA
37 Loud noise : DIN
39 “What greater gift than the love of a ___?”: Charles Dickens : CAT
42 Barely manages : EKES OUT
43 Not in operation, as a Broadway theater : DARK
45 Bank capers : HEISTS
46 Autobahn auto : AUDI
49 Brand with a lonely repairman : MAYTAG
50 Attach a new handle to? : RENAME
53 Former Houston hockey team : AEROS
54 Air Force NCOs : SSGTS
55 Punishment for jaywalking : FINE
56 Indian prince : RAJA
57 Privy to : IN ON
58 Crimson Tide, to fans : BAMA
59 Subjects of some eerie videos : UFOS
60 Manhattan neighborhood below Greenwich Village : SOHO
61 Jenna Fischer’s role on “The Office” : PAM

15 thoughts on “1006-20 NY Times Crossword 6 Oct 20, Tuesday”

  1. 7:35 Couldn’t sleep after taking an unintended nap during the Packers game, so I’m awake at 1:00 a.m. I had the 1/2 way notice at 2:43 and I thought that maybe I could make a Tues. best (6:45). Not to be. Had ACHE before HURT and a couple of fat fingers on 8D. Not familiar with the term “RACK AND RUIN”

  2. 9:22. How about “F word” as an alternate title for the theme? I guess F-phrase might be more accurate.

    Best –

  3. 9:39 I thought “hiss” and “sss” was a bit of a stretch, since they both indicated the sound from the same source, but it caused me no loss of sleep 🙂

  4. 8:53, no errors. Once again my very first entry included a “fat finger.” Cute theme. I especially liked FRACKANDRUIN and FRISKYBUSINESS.

  5. I thought this was pretty easy for a Wednesday…until I came here and saw the times! Anyway 11:12, no errors.

  6. 8:48, no errors. Attended the University of Washington back in the Pacific-8 days. USC is also famous for it’s ‘celebrity off-spring’ sports scholarships.

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